Lu­mien Or­ton fi­nally wins the Sanlam Women’s Am­a­teur at Ebotse Links.

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Amateur Scene -

ne of the best sto­ries this year in South African golf played out at Ebotse Links in Benoni where 29-year-old Lu­mien Or­ton (née Laus­berg) lifted the SA Women’s Am­a­teur tro­phy, af­ter los­ing three pre­vi­ous fi­nals dat­ing back to 2004.

One of the old­est com­peti­tors in the field, and mar­ried, play­ing in just her sec­ond tour­na­ment of the year, Or­ton showed up at Ebotse as an un­known player among to­day’s top-ranked teenage am­a­teurs.

A Kim­ber­ley res­i­dent, but mem­ber of Schoe­man Park in Bloem­fontein, she had lost two SA Am­a­teur fi­nals to Ash­leigh Si­mon (2004 and 2006), be­fore turn­ing pro for two years. Af­ter re­gain­ing her am­a­teur sta­tus, she reached the Am­a­teur fi­nal again in 2009 at Royal Cape, and lost to Nobuhle Dlamini on the 37th hole of an epic fi­nal. Af­ter that de­feat she took in­ter­mit­tent breaks from the game.

Or­ton rep­re­sented South Africa in the 2012 All Africa champs in Nige­ria be­fore tak­ing up road run­ning. She com­pleted both the Com­rades and Two Oceans ul­tra-marathons in 2013 and 2014 re­spec­tively.

“All that train­ing, and time spent in the

Ogym, has helped in terms of my hit­ting a longer ball,” said Or­ton. “I have al­ways been a straight driver, but my lack of length off the tee in the past had been a weak­ness and pre­vented me from be­com­ing a bet­ter player.”

Dur­ing a fam­ily hol­i­day at Sun City last De­cem­ber, Or­ton re­dis­cov­ered her love for golf, and she bought a sec­ond-hand set of clubs, af­ter hav­ing hers stolen in a bur­glary at home. Play­ing twice a week at Kim­ber­ley GC, in April she com­peted in the SA Women’s Stroke­play at West­lake GC in Cape Town, fin­ish­ing T-15.

“I ar­rived at Ebotse know­ing only a hand­ful of play­ers and of­fi­cials, which kind of helped as I flew un­der the radar the whole week,” said Or­ton, who fin­ished T-4 in the stroke­play qual­i­fy­ing. She cruised past Bianca Wer­nich 6/5 in her first match, then beat Demi Flana­gan 2/1, Eu­ge­nie Clack 3/1 and Sy­mone Hen­riques 2/1 to reach the fi­nal against 20-year-old Cara Gor­lei (Mil­ner­ton), who was back home from col­lege golf at the Uni­ver­sity of Arkansas.

Gor­lei had thumped top-ranked Kaleigh Telfer (the SA Stroke­play cham­pion) in the quar­ter­fi­nals, and edged SA Girls cham­pion Lu­mien Or­ton. Danielle du Toit (a victor over Ivanna Samu) one up in the semi­fi­nals. In the 18-hole fi­nal, Gor­lei was four up through eight holes, leav­ing Or­ton fac­ing an­other cham­pi­onship match de­feat.

“I thought not again,” said Or­ton. “But I said to my­self, just win two holes back and see what hap­pens. In the 2009 fi­nal against Dlamini I was 6 down af­ter 18 holes be­fore los­ing at the 37th.” Two bo­geys from Gor­lei and two birdies from Or­ton (14 and 15) saw the match level. Gor­lei then made bo­gey at 16 to go one down, and a birdie four at 18 for Or­ton clinched a 2up vic­tory and first na­tional ti­tle. She is the old­est cham­pion since Wendy War­ring­ton won at East Lon­don in 1999 at the age of 39. - BARRY HAVENGA

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